Warning Signs: Suicide Prevention Campaign

East Sussex County Council
Campaigns & Interventions

Effectively linking at-risk audiences with mental health services

The suicide rate in Sussex was an area of concern to the Sussex Health & Care Partnership and its local authority partners. Men aged 30-59 were particularly at risk in comparison to the national average in England. To address this, they needed a behaviour change intervention which could ensure more people reached the support they needed at or before they reached crisis point.

We carried out extensive insight gathering work to understand the underlying factors (such as the impact of nearby Beachy Head as a well-known suicide “hotspot”) and map out the local suicide prevention offer. We also identified a crucial secondary audience: the people around at-risk men who could potentially spot signs of suicidal ideation and signpost them to support services.

Rather than looking to general behaviour change theory, we applied a specialised model of suicidal behaviour, which provided a great framework for intervention planning around key trigger points and factors which feed into suicidal thinking and behaviours.

To deliver the intervention, we:

  • Built a campaign microsite which offered advice for brief interventions on suicide prevention and contained links to dozens of support organisations for mental health and a range of contributing factors (such as debt, addiction or housing insecurity)
  • Supported and advised the client team to improve and update their core suicide prevention offer to meet the needs of the audience
  • Developed and ran a digital and out-of-home promotional campaign, with Google Search Ads as the primary channel, to reach at-risk men and their personal social networks, priming them to spot “warning signs” and signpost accordingly.

Since its launch in 2020, the campaign microsite has been visited by over 108,000 people, generated tens of thousands of clicks through to local support services. Our Google Ads campaign connected over 4,000 calls directly to the Sussex Mental Healthline.